Superstar Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona could find himself stood down from NRL duties for refusing to get vaccinated.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Asofa-Solomona, a two-time Storm premiership-winner, has informed the club that does not want to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
It’s understood the club is working with the NRL and is also exploring legal options.
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The 25-year-old is in a tricky situation and the club doesn’t want to be disadvantaged by sacking Asofa-Solomona as a result of Victoria’s health orders.
Victoria has a black and white vaccine mandate which doesn’t permit professional athletes to partake in their respective sports unless vaccinated.
The policy is so strong that not even the world’s top tennis players will be granted exemptions to bypass it, which Premier Daniel Andrews has stated on several occasions.
The NRL has already confirmed that no vaccine mandate will be put in place despite the opposite approach taken by rival code the AFL.
Meanwhile, the NRL today handed down its vaccination protocols for all 16 clubs.
In NSW, and until at least December 1, players who are unvaccinated aren’t allowed to train with their teammates.
This could change if health guidelines are changed after December 1 when revisited, but for now the NRL is urging clubs to create individual programs for those who aren’t vaccinated.
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The NRL is hoping that players in NSW who opt against being vaccinated can eventually return to training.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s report, the NRL outlined the following guidelines below to clubs.
Restrictions for unvaccinated players
- Wear a mask at all times unless at home or at training
- Wear a mask at training unless exercising
- Return a negative COVID-19 test before preseason
- Two PCR tests per week
- Complete whereabouts form on NRL app every day by 2pm
- Use separate bathroom and eating areas to other players
- May not be permitted to use indoor gym at training
- No visitors to your home or visiting other households
- No public transport
- Prohibited from attending pubs, clubs and restaurants at this time
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo admitted that despite the plans the NRL has put in place, health guidelines will have the final say.
“It is clear that those personnel who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will face significant logistical hurdles in 2022,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo told clubs in an email on Thursday.
“Vaccination not only protects their health and that of those around them, but gives the best chance of an interruption-free 2022 season.”
The report also states that Queensland is leaning towards the idea of mandatory 14-day isolation periods for teams and close contacts when an unvaccinated player tests positive for COVID-19.
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